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Can you disinherit your child from your Arkansas will?

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2023 | Wills

Others contend that the last act of parenthood is leaving something for your child after you die, as explicitly stated in your Arkansas will. But, as in all family affairs, pressing needs and relationship dynamics are ever-changing.

What if you’ve decided to cut off your child from your will?

Motivations for child disinheritance

Parents commonly write their children out of the will because of estrangement. You may have heartbreaking conflicts with your child resulting in punitive parental instincts. Although the idea of disinheritance generally sounds malevolent, there are actually well-intentioned reasons for you to disinherit your child.

  • Lack of need: You may have already provided your child with substantial financial gifts during your lifetime, making them financially secure. Therefore, you want to support another struggling child and family member, or even a charitable institution in dire need.
  • Lifestyle choices: You don’t want to pander to your child’s addictive behavior – excessive alcoholism, drug abuse and gambling.
  • Mental illness and other disability: You may have another child or family member with a severe medical condition generating overwhelming medical bills for treatment and medication.

Under Arkansas’ pretermitted heir statute, omission of your child’s name is not enough basis for disinheritance. If the child’s name isn’t on the legal document, the court assumes it was simply unintentional. So, your child can still receive a share of your estate, equating to how much they would have received if you died without a will.

Accordingly, it’s also not enough to indicate a charitable organization instead of your child’s name because the court will still assume it’s unintentional. Therefore, you must clearly and explicitly state that you leave them with nothing.

Looking ahead with a long-term goal

Your decision may come as a shock to your child. They may dispute the disinheritance since they probably consider the circumstances as unfair. And if they do, they must prove that you had no proper witnesses and that you’re of unstable mind or under duress when drafting the will. As issues significantly become complicated, it will help to seek assistance from a legal counsel who understands your intentions and can execute your will exactly how you intended it to be.